Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Jekyll Island, GA

  • Published 2023/03/17

City life can be taxing and leave you with a heavy burnout.

So why not escape into the blissful expanses of one of the world’s finest barrier islands to relieve stress?

Jekyll Island in Georgia is the ideal holiday getaway for such a relaxing respite!

Here, you can take refreshing dips to your heart’s content!

Horseback riding, kayaking, and capturing the scenic beauty in memorable photographs are some of the place’s charms.

Interested to know more about this stunning place?

Here are the 25 best things to do in Jekyll Island, Georgia:

See the Unique Woods atDriftwood Beach

Sunset over Driftwood Beach

Gestalt Imagery /

Driftwood Beach is the first location that you should visit on Jekyll Island.

The beach is unique for the gigantic driftwood pieces washed ashore.

You will be surprised at their enormity – they are not random twigs or even logs.

People at Driftwood Beach

Margaret.Wiktor /

The journey to the beach also passes through dense jungle lands, further adding to the mystical charm.

Don’t be surprised if you hear a murmur of wise advice from some old trees!

On the beach, you can rejoice in any of the usual beach pleasures.

Trees at Driftwood Beach

Elena Simona Craciun /

Go Fishing at Jekyll Island Pier

Silhouette of Jekyll Island Pier during sunset

Nickolay Khoroshkov /

There are plenty of fishing areas considering the topography of Jekyll Island, but none compare to its fishing pier found at the island’s northernmost tip.

Facing the Saint Simons Sound, Jekyll Island Pier is a fantastic spot to cast your line because of its marine biodiversity.

Even if you’re not into fishing, this is a great spot to spot some dolphins.

Walkway of Jekyll Island Pier

Joanne Dale /

Jekyll Island Pier also has sprawling walking trails to explore, making it an excellent spot for picnics.

The sunsets here are also some of the best.

One of the prettiest areas on Jekyll Island, this is a must-visit during your trip.

Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Interior of Sea Turtle Center

SR Productions /

You will be surprised that Georgia is home to one of the largest sea turtle populations in the entire world!

Moreover, five species of these creatures cross the coast during their migratory journey every year!

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is dedicated to ensuring the well-being of these beautiful creatures.

Exterior of Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Joanne Dale /

Their staff heals the injured members of the pack before releasing them into the waters again.

They also organize public outreach programs to educate the masses about the pressing need to step up conservation efforts.

You can even avail yourself of the rare opportunity to touch and pet some lovely creatures.

Exhibit in Georgia Sea Turtle Center

SR Productions /

Do Bird Watching at the Old Amphitheater

Daytime view of the Old Amphitheater

Scott Long, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Old Amphitheater is an abandoned amphitheater that’s been overtaken by nature, making it a popular place for desolate photography and bird watching.

Sprawling with trees and shrubberies, many birds are found here because it’s relatively quiet and away from urban areas.

You can see a lot of graffiti on the theater’s benches and worn-down metal, giving this an abandoned aesthetic.

Hence, there’s a certain charm about the Old Amphitheater, especially if you’re the type who likes austere places.

Find it along Stable Road by a large pond.

Rent a Bike at Beachside Bike Rentals

Bicycle in Jekyll Island

jadimages /

Jekyll Island is a small island measuring only 7 miles in length and 1.5 miles in width.

It is ideal for enthusiasts to travel the beautiful trails on this island on rented bikes.

Many companies provide bikes for rent on Jekyll Island.

Beachside Bike Rentals is the most prominent among these.

You can rent bikes from them at Seafarer Inn, Villas by the Sea, and the Days Inn.

Another bike rental service is Jekyll Island Bike Barn.

This rental shop provides some exciting models, including a bike designed to be used by four people!

Jekyll Wheels is yet another rental shop.

The unique thing is that they also store your bike overnight.

These rental services are priced reasonably and can be used without cutting deep holes in pockets.

Go Swimming atGreat Dunes Beach Park

Great Dunes Beach Park is the best beach on Jekyll Island to swim in the alluring ocean waters.

The reason is its delightful sandbar!

You can head deep into the ocean without worrying about dangerous water levels!

It is ideal for new swimmers or anyone who wants to enjoy the beach without struggling with the water.

However, be cautious not to limp too far.

Once the sandbar ends, the bed falls steeply to lead into deep waters.

Observe Marine Life at St. Andrews Beach Park

Sands of St. Andrews Beach

romarti /

St. Andrews Beach Park is perfect for animal lovers.

You can watch a wide variety of colorful birds and sea animals here.

The beach features a specialized platform where bird spotters can enjoy watching the birds soar in the skies above.

In addition, you will spot some rare and exotic bird species.

The grounds of St. Andrews Beach Park

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Naturalists can enjoy to their heart’s content watching dolphins dance on the sea waters.

St. Andrews Beach’s dedicated area provides a great vantage point to watch these merry antics.

Also, you can open up your lunch baskets and enjoy the perfect mid-day picnic.

Have a Scenic Lunch at The Wharf

Exterior of The Wharf

Darryl Brooks /

Erected at a pier facing the scenic East River, The Wharf is arguably the prettiest spot to have lunch on Jekyll Island.

The Wharf looks like a floating restaurant connected to the mainland with its wooden boardwalk.

Late lunch is highly recommended here so that you can experience beautiful sunsets.

Food is also great at The Wharf, which adds to its popularity, boasting a robust selection of American comfort food, mostly seafood.

The Wharf is located along Riverview Drive, conveniently along the historic cottages of the island.

Trail leading to The Wharf

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Stroll at Glory Beach

Glory Beach is yet another fantastic beach on Jekyll Island.

The beach is unique for the location where the movie Glory, depicting the exploits of the Civil War’s first all-black battalion, was shot.

To reach that point, you can walk over the long boardwalk from the nearby Jekyll Island Soccer Complex.

Glory Beach is usually not very crowded, and you can have a quiet beach time.

Have Golf Sessions at the Jekyll Island Club Resort

Golfing at Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Ken Schulze /

The Jekyll Island Club Resort features an entire 18-hole luxurious course for you to have a relaxing hit.

Alternatively, you can play in the 9-hole half course at a lower price.

Finally, kids and families can enjoy the game by trying their hand at mini-golf over two 18-hole courses.

Golfing is a tremendous stress-bursting activity.

However, the joy is often better when you bag your birdies in the middle of an exquisite island!

Exterior of Jekyll Island Club Resort

Margaret.Wiktor /

Spot Some Eagles at Bald Eagle Nest

If you take an off-the-beaten-path (called Crane Road Trail) from Stable Road, where the historic cottages are, you can spot a hidden gem in Jekyll Island—Bald Eagle Nest.

As the name suggests, this is a spot where the American Bald Eagle can be found.

Seeing these birds is a fantastic experience, which will surely leave an imprint on your trip to Jekyll Island.

Sprawling with giant trees, Bald Eagle Nest is tranquil as avid bird watchers, and nature lovers only visit it.

Keep your eyes peeled to see the majestic eagles perched above the trees.

Have a Watery Blast atSummer Waves Water Park

Signage of Summer Waves Water Park

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you want wet fun without diving into ocean waters?

If so, yes, we have the perfect option for you.

The Summer Waves Water Park is an artificial water park that will let you splash and dive to your heart’s content on the island!

The lazy river is anything but lazy, while the wave pool will mimic ocean waves to give you a feel of the real ones.

Also, you can have wild fun at the vast water playground.

Finally, slip down the fantastic water slides in the ecstatic shrills of water mania!

Take the Family to Jekyll Island Miniature Golf

You can’t go wrong with Jekyll Island Miniature Golf if you want to add diversity to your trip, especially in urban fun.

Found along Great Dunes Lane, Jekyll Island Miniature Golf is near the Atlantic Ocean, giving you and your family a scenic and fun time while playing mini golf.

The layout here is incredible, balancing difficulty and fun for all skill levels.

There are also playgrounds and a snack shop here, making this a fun whole-day activity.

Convenient to visit and brimming with fun, this is an excellent addition to a family getaway on the island.

Learn Local History atMosaic, Jekyll Island Museum

Exteiror of Mosaic Museum

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum showcases the history of this tiny island with its exciting exhibits.

The items provide an interactive, immersive experience for visitors to explore the past engagingly.

The museum keeps rotating its displays to provide something new on repeat visits.

You will learn essential facts about Jekyll Island with the help of the rich collection based here.

Tour the Historic Cottages at the Jekyll Island Club

Exterior of the Dubignon Cottage

Joanne Dale /

Jekyll Island was a winter retreat for many famous personalities.

These super-achievers flocked to this “little paradise with elegant leisure” to drown away their stress.

Prominent among these included J.P. Morgan, Marshall Field, and Joseph Pulitzer.

You can explore the rich cottages of these famous people by touring the Jekyll Island Club grounds.

Though they restrict your entry to most of these, these cottages are architectural beauties.

You can admire their elegance from the outside and have an enriching experience.

The best of these cottages are the eponymous Dubignon Cottage, Goodyear Cottage, Mistletoe Cottage, and the delightful Villa Marianna and Villa Ospo.

In addition, you should book your spot with the Landmark Historic Trolley Excursion, which covers the walk along with some additional perks.

These include entry to the Mosaic Museum, Faith Chapel, and a rare admission to the Moss Cottage to dote on its exquisite interiors.

See the Historic Sites atGolden Isles

View of St. Simons Island

Darryl Brooks /

Jekyll Island forms one island in a chain of four equally delightful islands known as the Golden Isles.

These include St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island.

It would be best if you went on exciting excursions to explore each of these.

Glorious natural surroundings and fresh island breezes will welcome you with loving arms.

Additionally, you could see notable historical sites and other landmarks on these islands.

For instance, St. Simon Island is home to its great lighthouse and the adjoining museum.

We recommend you check out this fantastic vantage point to enjoy surreal views of the endless ocean waters.

The island also features a remarkable World War II Home Front Museum.

War and history enthusiasts can learn useful trivia through its exciting exhibits.

Go Camping

Jekyll Island has fantastic campsites where you can set base overnight and become one with nature.

The campgrounds on this island are priced affordably.

Situated amid massive oak trees covered in delightful Spanish moss, these sites are ideal locations for camping.

However, a word of caution is worthy here.

Spending time outdoors during summers on Jekyll Island can pester you with the many bugs and insects on the island.

Therefore, we would advise you only to set camp if you are on the island during other seasons.

Do Horseback Riding with the Three Oaks Farm

Three Oaks Farm lets your rent out high-quality steeds to enjoy the beaches on fantastic horseback rides.

If you have traveled with your better half, horseback riding together amid delightful beach waves can be romantic.

The horses are available for rent at budget-friendly prices.

Three Oaks Farm also provides a trainer to take along in case you are new to dealing with horses.

Understand Jekyll Island’s Ecology at 4-H Tidelands Nature Center

You can learn about the rich ecology and wide variety of fauna on Jekyll Island by going to the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center.

The entry fee is only $5 to let you explore the area’s rich wildlife without spending a fortune.

The animal exhibits include rare and exciting species native to the region.

Alongside, you can catch the species of sea life found here in the impressive aquariums and touch tanks.

They also rent out boards and kayaks to go riding the ocean waves.

Paddleboarding is fun; you will have a crazy time tumbling and rolling with your paddleboard!

Witness the Turtle Crawl Races

The annual Turtle Crawl event has drawn hordes of participants worldwide since its inception in 2003.

As a result, you can watch and participate in fun turtle races in a lively atmosphere.

The fundamental aim of the event is, of course, to raise funds to support this rich life form.

Therefore, all the collections are spent protecting sea turtles and rehabilitating the sick.

Experience the Shrimp and Grits Festival

Shrimp and Grits Festival celebrates the rich food and entertainment culture with a pompous show every year in October or November.

The three-day weekend gala serves ample portions of the famous southern delicacy of the same name.

In addition, the atmosphere is electric, with live music shows and a craft brew fest adding to the charms.

The festival also displays an artist’s market for you to pick up exquisite artwork as sweet memorabilia.

Shrimp and Grits Festival has been recognized for its spirit and success and has bagged many awards.

Have a Blast atHolly Jolly Jekyll

The holiday season in Jekyll Island comes alive with the delightful Holly Jolly Jekyll festival.

Earlier known as the Jekyll Island Tree Lighting and Holidays, the new version of Holly Jolly Jekyll is a fantastic ode to the cheerful Christmas spirit.

During this event, the island is decorated gorgeously in lovely Christmas-themed grandeur.

Plenty of exciting events regale you with storytelling, caroling, and craft workshops.

We suggest you enjoy the island on a carriage ride during Christmas.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Wild Horses atCumberland Island

Wild horse grazing in Cumberland Island

Paula Stephens /

Cumberland Island is another beautiful island nearby but not part of the Golden Isles.

However, the island is still a paradise for nature lovers.

The unique thing about it is the wild horses that roam freely on it!

You must travel on a ferry for about 45 minutes to Cumberland Island.

Wild horses on the beach at Cumberland Island

Paula Stephens /

Once you reach the island, you can explore it on foot or a bike.

The Lands and Legacies Tour is a 6-hour detailed tour of the island.

You must book your spot on this tour because they also take you to specific exclusive locations!

Wild horses near Cumberland Island ruins

Jaclyn Ashley /

Final Thoughts

Jekyll Island is one of the best tourist attractions in Georgia, giving you access to the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s not merely known for being an island, however—tons of history and urban fun are also found on Jekyll Island.

To cap it off, attractions like the Bald Eagle Nest, Driftwood Beach, and Old Amphitheater give it a unique charm for tourists looking for more excitement.

With so many things to do in Jekyll Island, Georgia, use this list to make the most appropriate itinerary for you.

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